- Tour of Jane's cottage, now the Jane Austen House Museum
- Private dinner at Chawton House, a mansion owned by her brother Edward
- Visit the homes of Austen family friends
- Secrets of ladies corsets and clothing revealed by Regency expert
- Visit to Selborne, home of 18th century naturalist Gilbert White
One of English literature's best-loved authors, Jane Austen, wittily observed preindustrial English society from a sheltered and gentrified family life in Hampshire. The literary walk of her lifetime takes us to many of her haunts, including the village of Steventon where her father was Rector, and the gentle rolling countryside that forms the backdrop to much of her work.
A walk through rich meadows and snug valleys, handsome estates and civilized landscapes intersperses two visits to Chawton, where Jane moved at the age of 33. These take us on paths she probably used, passing timeless cottages she would have known. The week closes in Winchester, once capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, where Jane is buried in the ancient cathedral.
Jane Austen spent most of her life in the historic and beautiful county of Hampshire. Our route starts in the village of Steventon where Jane lived for her first 25 years. We will progress to explore the area near her next home where the Jane Austen Museum is today, Chawton. We will finish in Winchester where she is buried in the cathedral.
Sunday Overnight: Oakley
After arriving at Basingstoke, we rendezvous at Oakley Hall, an elegant 18th Century Manor House Hotel in the village of Oakley. Former owners of the house, the Bramstons, were good friends of the Austen family. It is suggested that Jane Austen’s novel “Mansfield Park” is based on Oakley hall and that Lady Bertram was based on Lady Bramston.
Monday Overnight: Oakley
Our first walk takes us to Steventon where Jane spent her first 25 years. We ramble in her footsteps, along paths close to the rectory and through the gentle rolling countryside she described in her novels. The Rectory itself was pulled down soon after her death but the 12th Century church where she worshipped stands unchanged. The Austens had a wide circle of friends whom she often visited; we see the homes of some of their closest friends such as Deane House and Ashe House, where Jane received a proposal of marriage. After a pub lunch, we visit the church where Jane’s brother was vicar and then we drive to the start of a gentle walk through the woods on the estate to our visit inside the Vynne, a mansion built in the 16th Century and visited by Henry VIII on at least three occasions. It was home to the Chute family who were one of the most respected families and also part of the Austen’s circle (although Jane was not particularly fond of Eliza Chute). Before dinner, we have a fascinating talk from a Regency clothing expert who will reveal secrets of corsetry and ladies’ costumes in Jane Austen's era.
Tuesday Overnight: Oakley
We set off for the pretty village of Chawton where Jane moved in 1809. Our circular walk takes us along paths familiar to Jane and her sister and we visit her cottage, now the Jane Austen House Museum. After our pub lunch, we walk around the extensive grounds surrounding "The Great House”, the fine Elizabethan mansion owned by Jane Austen’s brother. We pass the churchyard where Jane’s mother and sister are buried. In the evening we return to Chawton House, now renowned for its library collection which focuses primarily on women's writing from 1600 to 1830’s, for a private dinner at the very table where Jane would have dined with her family.
Wednesday Overnight: Petersfield
Today our walk focusses on the pretty village of Selbourne the former home of Gilbert White who was a fellow clergyman and contemporary of Jane’s father and a famous 18th Century naturalist and author. Our morning and afternoon walks take us through one of Hampshire's famous "Hangers", beautiful beech-clad hills. After our lunch we visit White’s house and extensive garden before resuming our walk, ascending via the famous zig-zag path from the village. We transfer to our next hotel in Petersfield where, in the evening, we will enjoy a delightful Regency song recital before dinner.
Thursday Overnight: Petersfield
We start our day strolling through Chawton Woods, a favourite haunt of Jane & her sister Cassandra, towards Fourmarks Station where we board the restored steam train on the Watercress line. This train was first introduced to Hampshire by Jane Austen’s brother. We have lunch in the village of Tichbourne in a local coaching inn, and then our walk follows a beautiful river path towards Winchester.
We walk from our Winchester hotel through the streets of this historic city and onto the meadows south of the city. When we arrive at the Hospital of St Cross, England’s oldest and most perfect Almshouse, we will receive refreshments in the form of the “Wayfarers’ Dole”, a unique and ancient tradition established almost a thousand years ago. One of the Brothers will show us this spectacular collection of medieval and Tudor buildings before we continue along the river Itchen to our pub lunch. In the afternoon we continue our exploration of the city and finish with a visit to the Cathedral. Our Farewell Dinner will be in our hotel, a stone’s throw from the Cathedral where Jane lies buried.
(Single Supplement $)
Departure: Winchester Rail Station
Hotels - Where we stay
Start planning your trip
What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation
- Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
- A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
- Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
- Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
- Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
- All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
- Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
- First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
- All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
- Wine with dinner
- On-trail snacks and refreshments
- All gratuities at hotels and restaurants